If you like to take your dog out in the hot summer months, it’s important to make sure she doesn’t overheat. Unfortunately, doing so likely means lugging around lots of water with you, and that’s a gigantic pain.
The alternative is to invest in a cooling vest. These devices soak up water and use it to keep your dog cool, no matter how hot it gets outside.
However, not all cooling vests are effective, and the last thing you want to do is drag your pup outside on a boiling-hot day only to discover you bought a dud. In the reviews below, we’ll show you which vests will keep your dog comfortable and which ones will leave you feeling like you got soaked.
A Quick Glance at the Winning Picks of 2020:
|Best Overall||SGODA Harness||
|Best Value||Petilleur Mesh||
|Premium Choice||RUFFWEAR Swamp||
|Dogzstuff Lightweight Evaporative||
The 10 Best Dog Cooling Vests Reviewed
1. SGODA Dog Cooling Vest – Best Overall
There are three layers of fabric on the SGODA Cooling Vest, and those multiple layers help keep the water from making your dog too hot or too cold. This creates long-lasting comfort without ever letting your dog’s body temperature veer too far in either direction.
The first layer helps wick water away from your dog’s body, so it won’t cause her fur to get too wet or her body to become cold. The middle layer helps trap any added water, keeping it in a place where it can cool your dog without freezing her. Finally, the uppermost layer keeps UV rays at bay, preventing the water from evaporating too quickly.
It’s cut to fit easily over her neck and shoulders, with plenty of room for her arms. The rust-free D-ring on the back lets you control her easily while also helping to curb her desire to pull.
The biggest downside is that all that fabric makes it heavy, especially when wet. As long as your dog can handle the added heft, though, she’ll likely be glad to have it on, which is why the SGODA Cooling Vest is our top pick.
2. Petilleur Dog Cooling Vest – Best Value
Let us be clear: the Petilleur isn’t in the same class as the SGODA vest listed above it. However, it’s also significantly less expensive, and given the price, its performance is enough to make it the best dog cooling vest for the money.
This vest only boasts a single layer, but that’s plenty for most regular summer walks. The only reason you’d need the two additional layers the SGODA offers is if you plan on going on some serious hikes — which, to be sure, is something you shouldn’t do with the Petilleur.
The upshot to that is that this vest is significantly lighter than our top pick, and most pups won’t even notice that they have it on. That makes it a good choice for smaller breeds, who won’t have to work harder to lug it around.
It’s remarkably easy to put on and take off as well, thanks to the Velcro that runs down its back. Even if your dog is a squirmer, you should be able to get it on without much difficulty.
While the Petilleur isn’t as good as the SGODA, it offers plenty of other advantages that make it a worthy (and inexpensive) option for dog owners.
The RUFFWEAR Swamp Cooler has everything your dog needs to stay comfortable in almost any condition. Its outer layer blocks the sun’s rays and dissipates heat, the middle layer stores water, and the interior mesh liner keeps your dog from getting wet along the way.
In fact, the biggest issue we found with it is that the SGODA does all that, too, and for a fraction of the price.
One advantage the Swamp Cooler has is the addition of reflective trim along the sides of the vest, which makes it more likely drivers will see you and your pooch when walking at night. Of course, your pup may not need to wear a cooling vest for a night walk, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
It’s easy to put on and remove, thanks to the side buckles, and it has a leash portal that makes it compatible with most harnesses. However, it’s a chore to re-wet the thing once it dries out, so make sure you soak it properly before you start your walk.
The RUFFWEAR Swamp Cooler is undoubtedly a premium choice, but its premium price tag knocks it out of the top few spots.
4. Hurtta Cooling Dog Vest
The Hurtta Cooling does an excellent job of keeping the area it covers cool, but unfortunately it doesn’t cover much.
It loops over a tight swath of your dog’s neck and chest, so most of her back and torso will remain uncooled. It also tends to be quite snug, especially around the arms, which makes it difficult to put on.
Once you wet it, though, it really stays wet, as it has a tremendous absorption capacity. It will stay cool enough for an entire hike, making it a good choice for active users.
The good thing about it being so snug is that it won’t move around a lot or interfere with your dog’s ability to move.
It will fit easily under a harness as well. The smaller sizes have attachment loops for a leash, but the bigger sizes do not, so you’ll have to use it with a harness or collar if you have anything larger than a toy breed.
All in all, the Hurtta Cooling is a very good vest, but it has a few flaws that manage to knock it out of the top few spots.
5. Dogzstuff Dog Cooling Vest
If the Hurtt Cooling is a little too short, the Dogzstuff Cooling has the opposite problem. This tunnel-like vest extends so far down your dog’s body that it may interfere with the movement of her hips, and male dogs will likely pee on it during walks.
The good news about all that fabric is that it provides plenty of sun protection, so short-coated dogs don’t need to worry about coming home with a sunburn. Despite its impressive protective abilities, the fabric is lightweight and cool, and feels more like a t-shirt than a heavy wrap.
That lightness limits how much water it can absorb, though, and it dries out quickly. You’ll need to re-wet it several times on a long walk.
Dogzstuff offers a wide range of sizes, and each vest is adjustable as well, so finding one that fits your pooch shouldn’t be an issue.
While this is a quality option, it goes a little overboard in trying to maximize protection, and as a result, it gets dinged a few spots on this list.
6. CoolerDog Dog Cooling Vest
The CoolerDog Vest targets the two most important locations when it comes to chilling out your pup: the neck and the chest. There’s a large strap that wraps around the upper torso, as well as a smaller one that loops around the necks, and each one of them is designed to hold the company’s specially-made ice cubes.
You can probably already see how that might present an issue. If you forget to put the cubes back in the freezer after a walk, you can forget about cooling your dog off the next time you take it out. You can also only stay out for as long as the cubes last, which is just a half-hour or so, so don’t expect to be able to re-wet it halfway through a hike.
It’s a complete breeze to put on, though, as it simply attaches with Velcro. It doesn’t have any buckles that could pinch your dog, but longer-haired breeds may have some fur ripped out by the Velcro.
Dogs seem to love it as well, so it’s a nice treat for them. Unfortunately, the CoolerDog has enough limitations that it has to be satisfied with a spot down here in the lower half of the rankings.
7. Go Fresh Pet Ice Vest Cooling Vest
If it’s important to you that your dog look stylish on walks, the Go Fresh Ice Vest won’t help much in that regard — it’s just a plain blue jacket. However, it offers extremely long-lasting freshness, so it’s perfect for staying cool on long treks or just for wearing around the house on days the mercury climbs.
Part of the reason why it stays cool for so long is that the fabric reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them. This keeps it cool to the touch as well.
It doesn’t move well with your pup, though, and tends to bunch up in odd places. The resulting friction causes it to wear out quickly, so it’s not a great choice for extremely active pooches.
The sizing is odd, too. The smaller sizes just swallow up tiny dogs, whereas the larger sizes seem to run small. Either way, don’t expect a perfect fit.
That’s a shame, too, because the Go Fresh is very good at keeping dogs cool. It just has too many other flaws to warrant a strong recommendation from us.
8. smartelf Dog Cooling Vest
While you might think a vest called the “smartelf” would be for toy breeds, the smallest size this one comes in is large. If you have a small dog, then, you’re just out of luck (or you can try to convince several Pomeranians to wear it simultaneously).
The mesh exterior ensures that the fabric will breathe well, even when the thing is dry. The side-release buckles can be adjusted to fit your dog without much hassle, either, so getting the perfect fit shouldn’t be difficult — at first, anyway. The elastic tends to slip the longer you walk, causing you to need to stop and readjust frequently.
Just don’t take your dog too far off the beaten path, however, because the mesh tears ridiculously easily. If you take Fido out into the woods, the thing will likely be in tatters by the time you come back. As a result, despite its bright orange color, it’s not suitable for hunting dogs.
It’s fairly thick as well, so putting a harness over it will be a snug fit, yet there’s no place to attach a leash to the vest. It seems it was intended for off-leash pups, but as noted above, letting your dog roam with it on is probably a bad idea.
While we appreciate a company that looks out for bigger pups, the smartelf needs a lot of work before it’s worthy of a higher spot on these rankings.
9. PupPal Pet Cooling Vest
The PupPal arrives wet, so it’s ready to go right out of the box. While we appreciate the company’s enthusiasm, opening up the package to take out a wet vest is just…weird. It shows odd attention to detail that would be better spent on some of the vest’s other flaws.
It’s very stiff, especially when dry. It doesn’t seem like it would be comfortable for dogs, and it seems to affect their range-of-motion while walking. You’ll need to re-wet it frequently as a result.
It’s machine washable, but only do so if you’re unhappy with the color, because it will fade considerably with the first washing (and hopefully this goes without saying, but don’t throw it in with your whites).
The sizing is a little off, too. The manufacturer warns that they run small, but that only seems to be through the neck and shoulders, as there’s lots of excess fabric hanging down near the stomach. This probably won’t bother the dog, but it may annoy you.
As long as you keep it wet, though, the PupPal should keep your dog cool. The moment it dries, however, your pup will simply be wearing a stylish piece of cardboard on her back.
10. Kurgo Dog Core Cooling Vest
It’s critically important that you keep the Kurgo Core wet as much as possible, because the thing is like a heat wrap when it’s dry. It only stays damp for 45 minutes or so, too, so take plenty of refills with you on long hikes.
It covers most of your dog’s body, running down the spine nearly to the tail on top and cutting off midway down the belly on the bottom. This provides lots of UV protection, but again, it will trap body heat if you don’t keep it watered down.
It’s a pain to put on, too. There’s a zipper near the neck, but it only goes down a few inches, so you may have trouble slipping it over your dog’s head (especially if she likes to struggle). Then, the buckle around the stomach needs to be tightened just right; too loose, and it will bounce around and annoy your dog, but too tight and it could rub her raw.
There are plenty of places for it to snag on branches, so it’s not the best choice for venturing off the beaten path. It likely won’t hold up to extended abuse, either.
Ultimately, the Kurgo Core doesn’t really offer anything that you can’t find in other vests — and those vests aren’t likely to share the Kurgo’s myriad flaws.
Our favorite cooling vest was the SGODA Cooling Vest. It was easy to put on, had multiple cooling layers, and even included a D-ring to help stop your dog from pulling.
A close second was the Petilleur. While not as good for long-distance treks, it’s perfect for short, daily walks, and it can be put on or removed in seconds.
Finding a quality cooling vest is harder than it should be, especially since it’s not readily apparent what separates a good one from a dud. We hope these reviews have made it easier for you to find one that your dog will appreciate, so you don’t have to be cooped up inside until the sun goes down in the summer.
After all, it’s hard to use your adorable dog to get you a date on the beach if you have to wait until midnight.
- A Quick Glance at the Winning Picks of 2020:
- The 10 Best Dog Cooling Vests Reviewed
- 1. SGODA Dog Cooling Vest – Best Overall
- 2. Petilleur Dog Cooling Vest – Best Value
- 3. RUFFWEAR Swamp Cooler Dog Cooling Vests – Premium Choice
- 4. Hurtta Cooling Dog Vest
- 5. Dogzstuff Dog Cooling Vest
- 6. CoolerDog Dog Cooling Vest
- 7. Go Fresh Pet Ice Vest Cooling Vest
- 8. smartelf Dog Cooling Vest
- 9. PupPal Pet Cooling Vest
- 10. Kurgo Dog Core Cooling Vest